Sister city agreement to reap dividends for Ipswich
A BOOM in cultural exchange, business opportunities and tourism are the benefits set to flow after a new sister city agreement between Ipswich and Nantou County in Taiwan was signed this week.
That is the word from Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale who signed the agreement with Nantou County Magistrate (Mayor) Lin Ming-Chen in Taiwan.
Ipswich also has a sister city agreement in place with Nerima City in Japan which has proven successful across a range of areas including educational exchanges between schools from both cities.
Representatives from Trade and Investment Queensland, along with Ipswich Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Phillip Bell were also on hand at the signing. Cr Pisasale was accompanied by Cr Cheryl Bromage, CEO Jim Lindsay and Ben Hayward, the executive officer to the mayor, on the trip.
Cr Pisasale said the new agreement would create a lasting friendship and alliance between the two cities and was "all about education, business, tourism and culture”.
"It represents expanded opportunities for our schools to work together, businesses to develop trade ties, broaden cultural horizons, tourism and sport,” he said.
"We're hoping to put an area aside when we transform the woollen mills so our sister cities can put up cultural displays.
"On my visit here we have done some work on our smart city plans and we've met with Universal Scientific Industrial (USI), one of the world's leading technology companies.
"They make parts for smart phones and computers but they don't have a footprint in Australia. The key for Ipswich is opening up our borders for educational exchange and industrial development.
"We already have a number of students keen to come. Nantou (delegates) will be coming to Ipswich next year to re-sign the agreement in front of Ipswich people.”
Cr Pisasale also visited the world headquarters of the Tzu Chi Foundation while in Taiwan, where he met the grand master, a female, of the organisation.
The international humanitarian organisation is well regarded in Ipswich after its extraordinary assistance in the 2011 and 2013 floods where $700,000 in vouchers were distributed to those directly impacted.
"I wanted to personally thank Tzu Chi for their care, compassion and on-going assistance to the Ipswich community,” Cr Pisasale said.
"Since (the floods) the Blue Angels, as I like to call them, regularly hand out food parcels to those families in need and are strong supporters of emergency service workers and volunteers including the SES.
"I met with the grand master for about five hours and she exudes a sense of peace and compassion.
"Jose Alonso (from Ipswich) has also come over in his police uniform and said 'thankyou' to Tzu Chi on behalf of all our emergency services.”
"By having Phillip and the chamber here he was able to build relationships with businesses which will help Ipswich business go ahead. Some of the contacts with schools he made will be invaluable.
"Cheryl has been able to interact with all the female business leaders and the relationships with Tzu Chi she has forged are just extraordinary.
"She was able to deliver personal messages of thanks from the people of Ipswich and that relationship will ensure Ipswich people in need will be taken care of. Cheryl's also learning a lot about road construction over here.”
Cr Pisasale said the local council in Taiwan paid for the accommodation of the council entourage while Ipswich City Council paid for the flights of the two councillors and two council employees.
The other Ipswich residents on the trip paid their own way, Cr Pisasale said.
Cr Pisasale said the Tzu Chi Foundation's next family food aid event would be held Saturday November 27 from 8am in the Brassall Shopping Centre car park.
Those who qualify include recipients of Centrelink pensions or health care card holders and Cr Pisasale said they should pre-register at the Mayor's office or the Division 6 office of Cr Cheryl Bromage prior to the day.